With the New Year upon us, it’s time for many to set their New Year’s resolutions – a tradition that actually dates back to 153 B.C. While the tradition of making resolutions has a long history, the track record for breaking them is probably just as long! When it comes to setting financial goals, this can be especially true.
The Texas oil baron H.L. Hunt was once quoted as saying “If you set goals, you first must decide what you’ll sacrifice to get them.” He’s right. If you are going to set a goal, you have to expect to make some sort of change in your business and personal life in an effort to get it. But the satisfaction and other rewards for achievement can be well worth it!
So if you need some “resolutions” on how to get your “financial house” in order for the New Year, I suggest meeting with a good financial planner, and review the following:
1. Do you have enough cash set aside for emergencies?
2. Do you need insurance for, or is your current insurance adequate for: risks involving your health, a possible disability, a liability risk (if you are sued), the premature death of a breadwinner in the household, or a medical condition that may require long-term care?
3. Will there be any “surprises” on your tax return this coming year? If so, how should you prepare for it?
4. Do you need to do – or update – a retirement forecast to know where you stand financially? Do you need to adjust your saving or spending accordingly?
5. Does your portfolio need to be rebalanced as a result of changing goals or needs?
6. If you are retired, or thinking about retiring, do you have a good cash flow plan to meet your income needs?
7. Is it time to update your estate plan – including beneficiaries on your retirement accounts and life insurance? Do your loved ones know what to do if something happens to you?
A thorough discussion about some – or all – of these topics is bound to identify a few new goals you can work on together.
Whether your New Year’s goals are financial or personal, to give you a better chance of achieving them, consider the SMART system. Make sure your goals are:
1) Specific – the more precise and defined, the better. Write them down!
2) Measurable – have a way to quantify your success, even along the way.
3) Attainable – it needs to be realistic to begin with.
4) Relevant – is it important enough to you that you want to accomplish it?
5) Time-bound – give yourself a deadline. You can always adjust it!
You won’t know what you can achieve unless you stretch a little. Make sure your objectives are big enough to do just that, all in an effort to bring out the best in you! Remember: It’s often far easier to reach goals than it is to set them.
Good luck with your resolutions in 2017, and best wishes for the New Year!